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20 June 2014

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toto

Well, good for the "russophiles" then.

Poroshenko is playing an excellent game, given the lousy hand he was dealt. He's bludgeoning the rebels militarily while keeping civilian casualties low so far.

At the same time, he is careful to maintain constant dialogue with Russia. A "dialogue de sourds" maybe, but a dialogue all the same.

Presumably he wants the Russians to see him as someone they can work with in the future. Like the equally nationalistic, yet "Kremlin-compatible" Timuschenko.

As the author observes, the one thing that might derail his strategy would be massive civilian casualties in an army assault, which might actually tip the risk/benefit balance for the Russians to intervene.

Jim Ticehurst

I agree Good Post ..Putins background..Comments..and Attitude make it pretty Clear He is a Wolf and a Big RED Riding HOOD..His dream is the reunification of the Soviet Empire and his Anger over that issue is Well Know..I think this is the Beginning of His and Russians Campaign for their Own New World Order that will eventually link up with Irans..I think the Logistics are being planned and worked out..and look for Rapid acceleration once The Gas
(or Diesel) smells fill the Air..That Region is becoming a Multi Front Threat to The Security of the United States..
Prepare for the Worst..Hope for the Best ..We need a Leader Not a Fruitcake and Salad Eater.. There has been enough Erosion..

LJ

Well, if Putin wants to teach the West a lesson, June 22 would be the day of choice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Barbarossa

FkDahl

The civilian toll is around 250-300, though one has to look very very hard to find any mention of it in the MSM. It is possibly it is a lie, but if you look around you can find enough videos and pictures of civilians in pieces, houses and apartment buildings hit by grenades and shrapnel, or the town of Slaviansk with that special dust artillery picks up, in order to make it believable.
Now that is not that high compared WWII, but still a remarkable figure given that it is happening in Europe today.


This is a damn good summary:
http://veragraziadei.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/western-media-and-war-crimes-anyone-here-not-been-raped-and-speaks-english/

FkDahl

The Twisted Genius

Russian intervention may be quite soon, perhaps within the next few days. I've seen multiple reports of Russian units moving back towards the border. The was also a Russian language report where colonel Anatoly Dergilev gave an interview to RBC Daily to talk about plans to create a "cordon sanitaire" between the warring forces in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. In other words, the Russian Army will serve as peacekeepers and separate the conflicting parties so that they were not able to fight each other. Sounds a lot like the Russian version of R2P. It would make it harder for the West to squawk about a humanitarian R2P action rather than a full blown invasion. I'm sure the Banderites and their Western masters will still cry like rats eating onions.

The ceasefire seems to be just a propaganda ploy. It calls for a total capitulation and disarmament by the rebels. That's hardly a ceasefire. The artillery and aerial bombardments of rebel units and cities continues. There are even reports of two Russian border outposts being shelled by the Ukrainians. The rebel forces are holding their own and are making good use of what they are calling saboteur-reconnaissance units operating forward of their main positions. Sounds a lot like Spetznaz tactics to me. Even so, the Ukrainian forces are attritting the rebels much like Grant in the Overland Campaign.

Public opinion in Russia is screaming for Putin to do something to help the rebels. He may be feeling it necessary to act soon even if throws the witches of the West into a hissy fit. A force entry peacekeeping operation will be difficult to pull off, but I believe it is within the capabilities of the Russian military.

FkDahl

Ukrainian artillery barrage (for once I think the word is warranted): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DjIX0BQ6T4

Walrus

looks like the battery is registered, fires for effect, then perhaps walks the rounds down to the target.

Ulenspiegel

Until now, Putin only minimizes losses on the strategic level not more IMHO:

1) Russia has lost at least the western part of the Ukraine, i.e. now has to live with a reduced glacis.

2) The occupation of the Krim is a economic desaster, a occupation of eastern part of the Uklraine would only increase the burden, there is no teaching a lesson, as no western country faces significant economic losses there. A cynic may even wish an occupation by Russia.

The basic strategic problem of Russia as the economically weaker side remains, that Russia has only very few economic weapons and these can only be used in a economic HIC, which would be quite risky and would require that Russia cuts deep into her own flesh.

OTOH western countries can maintain a for them very cheap economic LIC which damages the Russian economy. I fear some guys in Washington DC understand these aspects very well.

For me it was stupid encourage/support the destabilization of the Ukraine by western governments, however, I have problems to see how Putin may gain from this mess.

cville reader

According to this translation, Putin's economic advisor, Sergei Glazyev, has accused the US of trying to start another world war through Urkaine. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWT5HM_NMlI

Elsewhere, he has recommended undermining the US economy by targeting the US $ as the world's reserve currency. http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_06_18/Putins-aide-proposes-anti-dollar-alliance-to-force-US-to-end-Ukraines-civil-war-8030/

And so far, I have seen no reports of this in any mainstream media outlet.

Fred

Ulenspiegel,

"Russia has lost at least the western part of the Ukraine" Russia hasn't had that since the end of the USSR.

Please explain how Russia is economically weaker than Ukraine? Whose money is going to bail out the Ukrainian economy, the EU's? Where are they going to get it?

David Habakkuk

walrus,

“One could perhaps be forgiven for wondering if the reporting of events in Ukraine are the result of journalistic laziness or direct political dictation from Washington when even The Independent accepts this so called peace plan without analysis.”

I have been wracking my brains over the puzzle as to why the MSM coverage of Ukraine is quite so bad. Perhaps one clue lies in a remark made by the chief foreign affairs commenter of the FT, Gideon Rachman, at the start of a recent article entitled ‘The west cannot fix the puzzle of Iraq through war.’

According to Rachman, ‘The west’s instinctive reaction when an international crisis breaks out is to ask two questions: what should we do; and who are the good guys?’

(See http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/ecbc5ae0-f536-11e3-afd3-00144feabdc0.html#axzz34VIRlhf4 .)

The notion that one can analyse political conflicts in the Middle East, or the post-Soviet space in terms of this kind of simplistic Manichean vision is, quite patently, BS.

Moreover, as commenters on the piece pointed out, the implicit assumption is that we ourselves are always, self-evidently, ‘good guys’. And this of course brings us back to issues you have repeatedly raised about narcissism.

David Habakkuk

Ulenspiegel,

Of course, Putin is only ‘minimizing losses on a strategic level’. Quite patently, he is caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Obviously, you will be familiar with the cable disclosed by WikiLeaks, sent from the U.S. Moscow Embassy in February 2008, in which Ambassador William J. Burns reported on the attempts of Sergei Lavrov to warn about Russia’s ‘red lines’ in relation to NATO expansion.

(See https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08MOSCOW265_a.html .)

Among the remarks in the memorandum which seem relevant to the current situation, one is:

‘Experts tell us that Russia is particularly worried that the strong divisions in Ukraine over NATO membership, with much of the ethnic-Russian community against membership, could lead to a major split, involving violence or at worst, civil war. In that eventuality, Russia would have to decide whether to intervene; a decision Russia does not want to have to face.’

For reasons I find difficult to fathom, much Western opinion seems absolutely convinced that the Russians are itching to takeover Eastern Ukraine by force – probably as a prelude to reoccupying the Baltics, and then going on to send the tanks to Warsaw.

No evidence has ever been supplied for such a supposition, nor indeed has any attempt been made of which I am aware to suggest how it might make sense from the point of view of the Russian leadership.

At the moment, it seems to likely that Putin is having, with deep reluctance, to contemplate a decision he ‘does not want to face’: for all kinds of reasons, including the economic factors you cite.

Another fascinating comment in the telegram from Ambassador Burns read as follows:

‘Isabelle Francois, Director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow (protect), said she believed that Russia had accepted that Ukraine and Georgia would eventually join NATO and was engaged in long-term planning to reconfigure its relations with both countries, and with the Alliance.’

Of course, at that point, I found myself thinking back the better part of a century. There was a time when Germany accepted that it would have to sign the Versailles Treaty, including the ‘war-guilt clause’, which well-and-truly rubbed the Germans' nose in it, as we say in England.

There were still a few of us who, in 1989 and after, thought that the treatment of Germany by the Allies in the aftermath of their victory in 1918 was not a good model for the treatment of Russia by the Western powers after their triumph in 1989.

Ulenspiegel

Ukraine was a glacis for Russia, even after 1990, therefore, the current developement is a loss.

The Russian economy is of course stronger than the one of Ukraine. However, Russia is not able to teach Ukraine a lesson with economic means, they have tried this since 1992 and have failed yet.

Hint: As long as Russian NG exports to Europe use the same pipelines as the Gas deliveries to Ukraine, the government/oligarchs there can continue the theft of gas. Only when Russia cuts deliveries to Europe they are able to hit Ukraine. This may change in 2018, however, until then we will see the charade again and again. :-)

Some payments of the EU are a compensation for the Ukrainian theft of NG and a sign of good will, not more IMHO. If the EU had a serious interest to change the situation they would accept that the Russian deliveries are fullfilled at the Russian/Ukrainian border.

BTW a larger Russian operation in Ukraine may lead to destroyed pipelines, something that is not in the Russian interest until 2018.

How much the western parts of the Ukraine will cost the EU in the long run is indeed an interesting question. IMHO on a relative scale much less than the Krim and the eastern parts of Ukraine will cost Russia.

IMHO a intact Ukraine (without Krim) would be in the interest of Russia and the EU.

Ulenspiegel

David Habakkuk,

as German and supporter of realpolitik I would have preferred a clear statement of my government that the Ukraine is part of the Russian sphere and that NATO membership or full EU membership for Ukraine is only possible, after Russia would have joined the NATO.

Personally I did not like the eastward NATO expansion in the 1990ies and still don't, and would have preferred a demilitarized eastern half of Germany.

The whole developement can to a certain extend indeed be seen by the Russians as a lack of gratefullness or at least generosity on the German side, especially when there was no real military thread after 1990 and most of us understand that the reunification was only possible due to the weakness of the SU.

Imagine

Petro-dollar loss is train that has left the station but has not got to its destination yet. U.S. werewolves have proved completely untrustworthy in using currency, financial instruments as military weapons against people they disagree with, recently w/ Iran, now w/ Russia. Imagine how long your corner bank would last if it started breaking contracts and freezing assets because it didn't like your face. Contrast: neutral Switzerland, trusted bankers for centuries. USA's biggest asset was trust; it has been squandered and lost. Results: good chance on another American Great Depression, as the Fed loses its ability to write blank checks to the world. Could crater the country. I see this as the hugest, most probable problem created by Nuland and State, even more than a possible WW with Russia.

Sunlight drives out vampires, and the damage can still be unwound. All America has to do is come from a position of integrity; denounce Nazis, jihadis, liver-eaters, and the war crimes/ethnic cleansing taking place in the Ukraine; swear that money and financial contracts are sacred, and will never be used again to make war on the red-haired stepchild du jour; and sit down -together- with Russia and China to work out a mutually acceptable financial world order. Indiana Jones' aha: The penitent, humble man keeps his head down, and thus does not have it sliced off and handed back. This will of course require letting go of American exceptionalism...but it's worth it.

Or, we can do it the hard way. God's easy, HE'll still be here after America craters. Your choice.

Mark Logan

David Habakkuk,

I've been following the Ukrainian TV broadcasts and RT and for the past several weeks it seems clear to me that both have been down-playing events in eastern Ukraine. Not in toning down their rhetoric, but in percentage of air-time they each allot to the topic. Could this indicate both governments are unsure of what they are trying to accomplish, and/or very fearful of escalation?

cville reader

Somehow, I doubt that sitting down with Russia and China to establish a "new world order" will do the trick. Do you know anything about Chinese business "ethics"?

I am also not so blase as to accept the inevitability of another Great Depression

But a re-examination of the role of the petrodollar and the Fed's printing press may, in fact, be in order.

The Twisted Genius

This is a recent RT piece that give a good idea of the casualties being inflicted on both combatants. The numbers given are in line with several twitter feeds from the rebel side. The claims coming from the Kiev government sound more like Baghdad Bob.

The Lugansk militiamen took the bodies of nine of their killed comrades and also 12 injured troops and handed the remains of over 100 of Kiev’s army fighters to the Ukrainian forces, "not counting those in the airport." (That's the 49 killed in the downed Il-76.)

http://rt.com/news/167040-ukraine-exchange-bodies-ceasefire/#.U6L5n6xWO18.twitter

North

Was it really a triumph? To destruct their only hope for breakthrough the phase barrier? Well, an astonishing success. They've got what they wanted.. back in 19th century, stasis, slow degradation.. hefty price.. for what?

Anna-Marina

"Russia has lost at least the western part of the Ukraine"
You imply that Russia was an aggressor in this game. This is not true. The unsavory former KGB Colonel is facing an open aggression immediately at the Russian border. Moreover, the aggression has been conducted from overseas by the US; the current world situation does not show the US as a peace-loving country.

The Twisted Genius

Putin addressed the Russian TV audiences in a live program of Rossiya’24 channel today about the continued artillery shelling in Ukraine. He emphasized the need for dialogue, but added “It’s important to press towards a situation where all the combat actions stop.” That sure sounds like he's contemplating a forced entry peacekeeping operation.

Ulenspiegel

Sorry, why and where do I imply that Russia is the agressor? That is only YOUR assumption/strawman. :-)

I clearly stated in my first post that we (EU and USA) destabilized Ukraine which was IMHO not a smart move.

That Russia now tries to minimize losses and LOOKS like an agressor is one of Putin's problems in this mess.

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